A radical way to end the current stamp duty holiday has been suggested by three different legal bodies.
The Society of Licensed Conveyancers, the Bold Legal Group and the Conveyancing Association, have written to Chancellor Rishi Sunak proposing an alternative to a cliff edge end, either on March 31 as scheduled or at a later date.
“The proposed approach is simple” says a statement from the bodies. “Allow any transaction on which a conveyancing lawyer has been formally instructed by a buyer before February 28 2021 to qualify for the exemption provided the property purchase completes within 12 months.”
Simon Law, SLC chairperson, says: “Restoring the property market to a sense of normality has to be the priority as we emerge from the effects of the Covid pandemic restrictions.
“The SDLT holiday has had the effect of injecting an unsustainable stimulus into the market. Bringing it to an end with a ‘cliff edge’ expiry date will result in a postcode lottery worth several thousand pounds to some and not others, and has already created considerable stress on buyers, lawyers, lenders, search companies and local authorities amongst others.”
He continues: “The solution that we have proposed alongside the BLG and Conveyancing Association is simple and will have the effect of immediately delivering a calming effect, allowing natural market forces to resume in the property market. The postcode lottery would be removed, and transactions would follow their normal path to completion without an artificial time constraint.”
The statement from the SLC also says that it believes there are strong signs of a robust property market in 2021 without the need for further government intervention.
Currently the holiday is scheduled to end on March 31 but last week The Times - quoting unnamed government sources - said this would be extended to late June.
The issue is expected to be resolved at Wednesday's Budget statement.